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We are in full-blown summer, and that means it’s time to bust out the beach cruisers. The best SUVs for the beach don’t need to be fancy or even that tough. The goal is a perfect mix of cheap nonchalance and a touch of coolness (it’s the beach, after all.) Here are five of the best SUVs and trucks for the beach for under $15,000. 

Off-road four-wheel drive vehicle with rooftop tent prove that having the best SUV for the beach is strong move
Land Rover Defender on the beach | Sven-Erik Arndt/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The best SUVs for the beach shouldn’t be too nice

A major part of beach life is the sand, salt, and water. As we know, these are not things that tend to be gentle on cars. In fact, these elements are the leading cause of many incurable automotive ailments.

With this in mind, buying a brand new Mercedes G-Class or even a new Wrangler for the beach is basically flushing money down the toilet. This is why buying the best SUV for the beach shouldn’t cost more than around $15,000. The perfect beach cruiser is something funky, cool, and tough enough to handle the elements. 

Toyota Tacoma 

A red-with-gold-side-stripes 1995.5 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab SR5 in the desert
Toyota Tacoma Xtracab SR5 | Toyota

OK. I know this isn’t an SUV, but potato potato. According to Gear Patrol, the Toyota Tacoma world is a kind of wacky alt verse where old trucks never stop working, and the price basically stays the same forever. 

Even a 2005 Toyota Tacoma with 115,000 miles will still run you around $15,000. However, that mileage is basically nothing for a Tacoma, and for a truck with four-wheel-drive, a manual transmission, and seemingly never dies, $15,000 doesn’t seem all that bad. 

Early 2000s Toyota 4Runner

There is no chance the Toyota 4Runner wasn’t making it on the list of the best SUVs for the beach. Although the used 4Runner market is buck wild, the price starts to drop if you go back far enough. Decent Toyota 4Runners from the turn of the new millennium can still be found around the $12,000-$15,000 mark. 

Like the Tacoma, you’ll have to be ok with a higher mileage truck, but what’s a 100k miles to a 4Runner? You’ll also have to suffer what might be the ugliest generation of 4Runner, but luckily, on the beach, everything looks better. 

Lexus GX470

Like the other two on our list of the best SUVs for the beach, you’ll have to look for an early 2000s model Lexus GX470 for crawling the beach to keep it cheap, but they are out there. Even though it says Lexus, the GX470 is just a rebadged Land Cruiser Prado in foreign markets. 

These potential beach buggies stay around $15,000 but have a nearly indestructible 4.7-liter V8 and four-wheel-drive that get you beachin in no time. 

Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra parked in the sand
Nissan Xterra | eBay

On the lower end of the price range, the discontinued Nissan Xterra is a perfect beach cruiser. These Nissan 4x4s run around $10k-$11k in good shape with decent mileage. These bad boys were built for where the pavement ends. 

What’s even cooler is they can be found with cool optional extras like towing packages, grille guards, and they came in manual. Forget about just the beach; the Nissan Xterra is an all-around winner. 

Isuzu Trooper

The cheapest of the best SUVs for the beach is the Isuzu Trooper. These little weirdos are inexpensive, super cool, and ready for chilling by the beach. Not only can these little 4x4s do the job, but they will make you look cooler while doing it. 

Nice Troopers are still out there for less than $10k. Keep your eyes peeled for one of these little beauties and snatch one up before someone buys one for $100k on Bring a Trailer, and the party’s over. 


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